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Hall Closet Make-over – the prettiest room in my home!

As I mentioned the other day, our hall closet received some much-needed love this past weekend!

With three kids at home and twice as many jackets – let’s not forget backpacks and briefcases – we are the poster children for needing a mudroom. Unfortunately, we do not have a mudroom. We, in reality, barely have a hall closet.

Here is the before. If I’d been keeping it real, I would have shown you the ten or so coats piled up on the banister behind me, or the other five or six in the neighboring dining room.

In the early days, I had added a shelf for shoes underneath the hanging bar, as well as a hanging pocket shoe holder to the door. The shoe rack wasn’t very functional, as it was set too far back in the closet to access. The hanging pocket shoe container worked fine, and the kids did use it, but it wasn’t great for adult shoes – mainly Shay’s – as they were too wide at the toe to fit in the pockets correctly. There was nowhere to store hats and gloves – an obvious need at this point in the year – and hanging rod, while standard, wasn’t used by the kids.

And by the way, If you have kids that hang their jackets on hangers in the closet, I will consider a trade for my kids who do not. Come to think of it; I might even buy them from you! Of course, I’ll need proof before purchase.

I am excited about this project because I completed it. All. By. My. Self.  I designed the layout; I cut the wood – I used both a chop saw and a table saw – I hammered the wood, painted, stenciled, and did all the stuff… Is it just me, or do I sound like the Little Red Hen? Shay was my consultant on a few things, but other than that; it was all me. And, if I can do it, so can you!

Here is how I did it.


Step 1: Look for Inspiration

Inspirational photos help you to figure what you want in your closet. It’s one of the most fun parts of designing.  Here is one of the inspirations I used for this project. I love to take bits and pieces of things and figure out how to make it work in my home.

Step 2: Figure out your needs

Do you need storage for yourself and your significant other?  Do you have a billion kids like I do, with all of their shoes and coats and bags and other stuff? Answers to those questions will determine your needs. Here is my needs list:
  • Coat hanging solution that everyone can use and reach – kids included
  • A shoe solution that doesn’t involve throwing the shoes into a gigantic pile on the floor of the closet, never to be found again
  • Add storage for out of season items like gloves, snow pants, etc.
  • Nice to have – A storage solution for the various bags we use on a daily basis as well
  • And.. I want it to be pretty enough to tie in with the front entrance design

Once you know what you need, it’s simple to plan the how part of getting what you need. See how easy this is?

 Step 3: Plan your solution

This was my mock-up design. Pretty professional, huh? Excuse me while I laugh out loud! It wasn’t pretty, and I had to make adjustments as I went, but it got me started off on the right foot. A simple plan can do the same for you. Pull out your measuring tape. Grab a pencil and paper and get to work! Remember to include the thickness and size of any materials in your calculations.

Step 4: Demo Day – but only if necessary!

 I pulled all of the shelves and rods out of the existing closet. I like to reuse materials if possible, so carefully removed the trim under the hanging rod. To be sure it pulled cleanly away without breaking or ripping the drywall, I ran an Exacto knife along the caulked edge and under the trim piece. Then, I used a wonder bar to pry the trim piece off gently, removed the nails and set the trim aside for later.

Step 5: Wall Preparation

Patch any holes or gaps left from the demo step using a light weight spackle. I like to use the kind that goes on pink and turns white so that I can see what I’m putting on. Mudding is a lot like icing a cake, so, if you can do that, you can mud! The key is to use thin coats and sand in between. To fill holes, I like to use my finger tip, but a putty knife is necessary for anything larger. It doesn’t matter if it’s plastic or metal, just keep it clean between coats, and you’ll do fine.

Step 6: Re-assembly

We planned to use 1″ x 1″ furring strips cut to size (one along the back of the closet, one on either side) as brackets for the top storage shelf to rest on.

Then things got interesting. I knew what a stud was.. I’m married to one. But more importantly, I know what a wall stud is and that it’s safest to secure the brackets wall studs. Using my handy-dandy stud finder, I located the studs on two walls.. and realized there was only one stud appropriately placed on the third wall. After consulting with my resident stud, we decided to extend the length of all the brackets on the left side to the entire length of the wall, to ensure it was properly secured. I will admit that I threw a hissy-fit, as this didn’t aesthetically fit in with my design, but after a few deep breaths, and a gentle reminder to myself that this was a closet, not Taj Mahal, I moved on, re-cut the left side bracket, then secured them to the wall.

Next, I re-attached the leftover trim piece slightly below the brackets for the top storage shelf and again, filled all the holes. To determine the distance between hooks, I measured 35″ for average jacket length and cut and attached a second 4″ baseboard trim piece 37″ below the top one.
Then, we painted the whole thing in Glidden Parchment White in Satin – I wanted a highly washable surface
Once again, 1″ x 1″ furring strips bracketed the bottom shelves, topped by 1″ MDF shelves for the bottom shelves. All the shelves were painted black and dried before placing them in the closet.

7: Stencil it!

We used the Large Moorish Trellis Stencil with Martha Stewart’s Gray Wolf in high gloss.

Step 8: Add Hooks

With the painting complete and dry, I attached three different sizes and styles of hooks.

Our interior doors are hollow. To ensure the coat hooks on the door were secure, we added a scrap piece of MDF to the door, one at the top and one near the middle and attached the wrought iron bird hangers to the panels instead of the door.
For shoe storage, I added two cloth storage cubes and three narrower Waverly baskets that I picked up at Joann’s on clearance. Each person has a personal shoe basket. For the upper storage shelf, I used two inexpensive fabric cubes in black. I still need to make a basket to hold gloves and hats as I’ve been unable to find what I’m looking for thus far. All in all, though, it’s finished and in working order as we speak!

Step 9: Step back and take in all of the pretty!

Here is the remade closet pre-coat deluge, IE: Before everyone came home and started putting stuff in it.

coat closet makeover view 1

I’m delighted with the results – I learned a lot on this project and am now looking around thoughtfully at the other closets in this house. Closets beware!

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fabric bag - feature

How to Make Cute Fabric Bags with See-through Windows

These cute fabric bags are a great way to keep your collections together and make it simple to see what’s inside! They are a quick project, just perfect for toys and nearly anything else! 

fabric bag

January is ALL about organizing. Every year, I pick one or two areas to tackle. This year, it’s all about toys!

I’m OCD about Toys

When it comes to toy organization, I like organized sets and have been known to sort toys by the hour, on a bi-monthly basis, all the while muttering “I’m never going to let it get this disorganized again!” It’s a sickness really, given that it ends up just as disorganized by the end of the day! To me, there is nothing worse than going to play with a farm set and only having a pig, one piece of the fence, and perhaps a farmer’s hat – without the farmer.

As a result, I’m always looking for easy ways to keep collections together. Once together, I want those toys stored in ways that make them easy to identify, without having to dump the entire container out – a favorite pastime of my youngest.

These cute little bags are a score on both counts and are so, so easy to make. Although I’ve used them to store toys, the uses for them are endless. Don’t you believe me? Just watch. You’ll see!

How to Make Fabric Bags with a Peek-a-Boo Window

For this project you will need:
Fabric of your choice
Contrasting fabric for drawstring pocket
twine or twill tape for drawstring
Sewing Machine
Matching Thread
Clear Vinyl

 Cut out the bag

My finished bag size is approximately 14″ x 14″. I began by cutting two pieces of fabric, with right sides together, approximately 16″ x 16″.
fabric bags - measure length
Cut two pieces, in a coordinating fabric, measuring 14.5″ wide x 4″ long to be used as the drawstring pocket. Also, cut two pieces of cord (to be used as the drawstring pulley) at 18″ long each. Put these aside. Ignore my nasty, dry hand.

fabric bags - measure seem allowance

Fold one of the fabric pieces in half width-wise (from top to bottom) and cut a “window” on the fold of your fabric, ensuring there are at least 3″ on all outside edges.

fabric bags - cut window

Using this cut out as your guide, cut one piece of vinyl at least 1.5″ larger on all sides. Put aside.

fabric bags - add vinyl

On each of the four corners of your “window,” cut into the corner diagonally by 1/2″.

fabric bags - add vinyl - cut for finished corner

Press edges and Pin vinyl Window

 Press the top edge down  1″, on both the front and back pieces of the bag. Turn the front piece (the one with the window) over and press the 1/2″ edge of the window sides flat on all four edges.

fabric bags - add vinyl - hem edge of window

On each end of the drawstring pocket, press the side edges in by 1/4″ on each end, and the long edges in by 1/2″ on each side.

fabric bags - make drawstring 1

fabric bags - make drawstring 2

Pin the vinyl to the pressed edge of the window, on the backside of the front piece, ensuring the vinyl overhangs evenly on all four sides. Turn over the front piece.

fabric bags - pin vinyl

 Pin the right side of the drawstring pocket approximately 1/2″ from the top. Repeat for the back.

fabric bags - window-front side

 Assemble Bag

Stitch close to the edge on the top of the bag and the vinyl on the front side of the fabric.

fabric bags - sew edges

For the back, stitch close to the top edge.
On drawstring pocket, stitch close to both top and bottom edges, leaving a minimum 1″ pocket on both the front and back of the bag.
With right sides together, stitch the front of the bag to the back on three sides, leaving the top open. Turn and press.

fabric bags - add drawstring pocket

Thread one of the drawstring cords through each drawstring pocket, and secure each edge with a knot.

fabric bags - tie off drawstring

You have a completed bag!

fabric bags - finished bag

There are a million uses for these. I hope you can find a place for one!


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Behind door storage - collage

Behind Door Storage Area

Create a behind door storage area to maximize the storage potential in your room using thrift store finds! 

Behind door storage
There are two things I love when I’m redecorating – finding the absolute perfect spot for an object and re-using something I already have in a new way. When both of those happen at the same time, it’s a super win!

Behind Door Storage - Full shot

Create a Behind Door Storage Area

Although my daughter’s room is a fair size, it is awkwardly shaped, with windows and doors in less than ideal locations. When we were redecorating, we tried to include furniture that would provide ample storage and also allowed for her future growth and needs. Being that she’s still young, many of her storage needs revolve around toys, books, and clothes. However, within a few short years, we’ll be looking at other storage needs, such as makeup, desk and school accessories, and a place for homework.

What we used:

Behind Door Storage - Containers

Rather than fight the awkward corners of the room, we decided to embrace them!  Because of the angle of the wall near the door, there is a significant amount of space behind – nearly a foot. With narrow shelving, we can provide not only much-needed storage to the desk/study area but also a bulletin board area that Kyla can change and add to as she pleases.

Behind door storage - bulletin board

Everything, save for the small storage containers, we already had and were looking to repurpose – a large cork bulletin board and three country-style trinket shelves, in various finishes and conditions. We started off by giving all of the pieces we were using a cohesive finish – we sprayed everything using Krylon Fusion in Satin Dover White  – my go-to white spray paint.

Behind Door Storage - chalkboard container
To give a little flexibility to the shelving, we inverted one of the shelves, providing a pocket shelf, and moved the hangers to the other end of each bracket, so it hangs downward.  Each shelf has a reinforced bracket to ensure stability.

Behind Door Storage - brace

Behind Door Storage - Fasteners
The bottom shelves were mounted typically and currently hold jewelry boxes and electronics. We added tin and other small storage buckets found at Target to catch small knick-knacks and to hold pencils and other desk supplies.

Behind Door Storage - containers

Taking advantage of this area behind the door provided some much-needed storage in an area that would have gone unused, using supplies that also would have gone unused. A bonus, it’s not only functional, but super cute – AND, the clutter, BOP magazine posters, and mess hide behind the door!

Behind Door Storage - Full Room

Where are some areas that you’ve been able to eek out storage? I’d love to hear your ideas!


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